AN appeal to save a historic Clydebank church has been given the official backing ofWest Dunbartonshire Council.

The Post previously reported that Kilbowie St Andrew’s Parish Church is one of a number of churches across Scotland facing possible closure as part of a mission plan which is being developed by Clyde Presbytery.

Nearby Duntocher Trinity Church is also earmarked for closure.

But it's Kilbowie St Andrew's role in commemorating the Clydebank Blitz that has seen the congregation there secure the backing of local councillors in the fight against closure. 

At a recent full council meeting, Councillor Clare Steel (Labour, Clydebank Central) raised a motion calling on Clyde Presbytery – the Church of Scotland's local organisation overseeing all of the local congregations on both sides of the lower River Clyde – to retain the church and preserve its historic story for future generations of Bankies.

Cllr Steel said: “This council recognises the important part that Kilbowie St Andrew’s Church has played in the history of Clydebank and that local residents have a strong association with the church.

“This church has been a key focus of help and support over many decades and a key element of the Council and the community of Clydebank for commemorating the Clydebank Blitz.”

The church is currently home to one of Scotland’s only Blitz memorials, the Blitz Chapel, and it is a surviving witness to the events of the Blitz.

As part of Kilbowie St Andrew’s centenary celebrations in 1997, the congregation joined together to establish the Blitz Chapel inside the building.

A memorial stained glass window was also commissioned alongside a book created with the names of all those who lost their lives during the two nights of bombing on March 13 and 14, 1941.

The church was also gifted with a triptych, painting portraying images of the Blitz, created by renowned local artist Tom McKendrick.

Cllr Steel's motion continued: “Given the above, this council calls on the Clyde Presbytery to reconsider its plans to close Kilbowie St Andrew’s Church and instead to retain the church and preserve its historic story for the benefit of future generations.

“We recognise that the position on which churches are retained is entirely a matter for the Clyde Presbytery.

“Kilbowie St Andrew’s Church is a beacon of hope, a site of remembrance, and a host for cultural and important artifacts which have helped to tell the story of the Clydebank Blitz.”

Councillors unanimously endorsed the motion.

Members of the congregation at Kilbowie St Andrew's have appealed Clyde Presbytery's proposals to close the church. A decision on the appeal will be made in February. 

A Church of Scotland spokesperson said: “The Presbytery of Clyde is in the process of developing a mission plan which will determine how limited resources are allocated to congregations over a five-year period.

“Change is necessary in order to deliver sustainable and realistic new expressions of ministry and effectively deliver Jesus’ call to service and discipleship.

“The plan seeks to ensure well-equipped spaces are in the right places and to provide a roadmap to the future.

“No final decisions have been taken as this work is in progress and subject to change.”